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How Brakes Work, What Types of Industrial Brakes Exist, and How to Get the Most Life Out of Them

Brakes play an essential role in most machines whether they are personal or commercial. They stop you from slamming into other cars and prevent injuries if your industrial equipment breaks down.

Check out this quick guide to how brakes work below along with common types of industrial brakes and some tips on how to keep them in good shape.

A Quick Guide on How Brakes Work

Many different types of brakes exist, but they all provide the same function: to slow down or stop movement. Brakes use friction to halt rotating inertia loads and to hold movable parts in place when required. They convert the kinetic energy, produced through the friction between two surfaces, into heat to slow something down.

You find brakes on wheels in vehicles, industrial machines, and carts. The two main brake types are holding brakes and dynamic brakes. Dynamic brakes slow down a rotating inertia load while holding brakes secure components into a stopped position.

Dynamic brakes generally need more power than holding brakes because they must slow down the heavy, rotating components. Holding brakes must only keep an already stopped part in the same position, which requires much less power.

Common Types of Brakes

The two main types of brakes you find in the United States include disc brakes and drum brakes. A metal disc located inside the front wheels, disc brakes cause a hard pad to press down on the brake disc to make it slow down.

So how do drum brakes work?

Drum brakes have a shoe in the hollow wheel hub that presses outward when you activate the brakes. The shoe pushes into the wheel and friction slows down the rotation.

What Types of Industrial Brakes Exist?

Oversized machinery and industrial equipment require particular kinds of brakes. Here are five types of industrial brakes on the market.

Spring Applied Brakes

Brakes that decelerate moving loads and hold static loads still if the release mechanism turns off for any reason. Used in many different machines including overhead cranes and trollies.

A spring-applied drum brake uses electromagnetic solenoids as its release mechanisms. Most useful for overhead crane or winch holding, general industrial machines, and emergency stops.

Fail Safe Brakes

Used to stop motion in case of power loss or an issue with the PLC or variable frequency drive. Commonly used in downhill and overland conveyor belt systems, oil and mining winches, crane hoists, steel mill coiling and rolling systems, drawbridges, and elevators.

Hydraulic Release Brakes

Another type of spring-applied drum brake that uses hydraulic power for adjustable braking torque. Most useful for winch holding, stage productions, and emergency stops.

Sibre Brakes

Made specifically by Siegerland Bremsen, they come in both drum and disc designs with fail-safe features and various power sources. Usually used with wind turbines, rotor stopping, holding, and emergency stops.

How to Get the Most Life Out of Your Brake System Components

Getting the most life out of your industrial brakes takes consistent effort, but if you pay attention, they will last much longer.

Always make sure the industrial machine sits level on the floor. This applies especially to machines with side frames featuring parallel gibways. Uneven gibways can result in the gibways preventing the return of the ram to the stroke top as well as affecting the correct alignment of the tools.

Brakes relying on hydraulics for actuation need their hydraulic oil cleaned regularly. The oil gets contaminated with dust, condensed water, heat, dust, or grit. Be sure you change the filter at least once a year and check the oil even more often.

Finally, do not overfill the machine, because putting too much weight without even distribution strains and damages both the bed and the ram. Choose air bending rather than bottom bending to avoid these issues.

The Best Prices on High-Quality Industrial Brakes

Now you should understand how brakes work and how to maintain your machine’s brakes to keep you and others safe. Just realizing how badly you need new brakes for your industrial machines?

Check out Kor-Pak Corporation’s massive inventory of high-quality industrial brakes and clutches. Find everything you need from DIN or AISE certified drum brakes to storm and rail brakes. Our experts will track down what you need.

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